How to Write a Product Review
If you promote products as an affiliate, you’re going to love this post. I’m going to spill my secrets on how to write a product review that makes sales.
Product Reviews are responsible for the majority of my affiliate sales, and not just on the day that I write a product review. They get ranked in the major search engines and continue to make sales for years!
Here are some consumer survey stats* to whet your appetite:
- 83% of consumers say that product reviews influence their online purchasing decisions
- 70% of online shoppers actively seek out product reviews before they buy
- More than half of US online shoppers surveyed, read user reviews as part of their product research
- Nearly 9 of 10 US online buyers read reviews at least “some of the time” before making a purchase
Ready to learn how to write a product review that actually puts people in the buying mood? Great! Read on…
There are 7 elements that go into a great product review:
- Product Description
- Buyer Description
- Keyword Phrase
Keep in mind that it’s the merchants job to sell the product. Your job as an affiliate is to pre-sell the product. A good product review will assist the visitor with their buying decision so that they buy the right product, and feel good about doing it.
You may choose to frame your product review around the visitors needs or wants, or you may choose to frame it specifically around the product you are reviewing. Either way, here is a description of each of the 7 elements you should include in your review complete with examples from some of my own reviews:
Always include an image and/or video of the product or service that you are reviewing. This helps your visitor visually connect your review with the product or need that they are researching, and draws them into your content.
You can take a photo of the product yourself, use an image from the merchant’s website, take a screenshot of the website, or use a picture of you using the product. Depending on the product, you might also include before & after pictures.
Video options include: screencasting for digital products: ordering/using/results, unboxing of physical products, or an explanation of the product (talking head video).
Describe the product in detail: size, number of pages, features, ordering process, delivery/package details, benefits, expected results, your specific results.
People are wary of scams, and of the actual value of a product. They want to know exactly what they’ll get if they order this product today.
Include your personal thoughts and personal experience about the product or the decision to order the product. This helps your reader relate throughout the review, as they are now in the position that you were when you purchased that same product.
Example: TS2 is completely new. For those of you that have the original Traffic Secrets course on your bookshelf (here’s mine) – you’ll be getting a completely different course when you order TS2. It’s not just an updated or edited version, but contains brand new up-to-date marketing strategies and ideas. Traffic Secrets 2.0 Review
Who is this product for? Who is this product NOT for? No one product is a fit for everyone (that’s why we have an entire wall of toothpaste to choose from at the store!) so don’t frame it that way. Be sure to describe the ideal buyer in a way that your reader can easily decide if this is the right product for them – or not.
The point of a product review is to make sure the right people buy the right product.
Example: If you are anxious to set up your first blog, but get frustrated with all the technical stuff… this course is for you. If you already have a blog and have no problem customizing it yourself, or learning the code on your own… this course is not for you. Beginning Blogger Review
Tip: If there are two similar products, you might include an alternate recommendation for people who need “xyz” instead…
There are two types of proof to include in your product review. Proof that you actually reviewed the product, and proof that the product works.
People are skeptical of product reviews and believe that product review sites are biased, and that reviews are based on payment or compensation. Your job is to prove that you have the product yourself, and have provided an unbiased review.
Proof can be achieved by using photos or video, by describing the product in more detail than can be found on the merchant’s website, mentioning unadvertised bonuses, and by addressing the negatives (see next section).
Example: I sat down tonight to submit my request for StomperNet’s special offer, and I decided to turn on the video camera and let you watch over my shoulder through the order process. StomperNet Review
People are also skeptical of results, so you should include proof on how the product works if possible. This can include images, video or details about your personal results with the product.
Example: It automatically loaded the project into the software so that I could archive it, review it or upload it to the web. Here’s an example of an illustration done with the Livescribe Smartpen… Livescribe Smartpen Review
Pointing out any negatives with the product itself, or with the ordering process, will make your review objective – and will dramatically increase the ‘believability’ of your product review. If you don’t mention an obvious negative, it will increase skepticism.
Don’t be afraid to tell you readers the negatives! They are probably already thinking it, so this is your opportunity to address those thoughts and help them make an informed decision about making the purchase.
Example 1: The only real downside I’ve found to this gadget is that you have to upload your work to the Livescribe website in order to share it. The flash replay files are proprietary, meaning you cant upload them to other spaces on the web – such as YouTube or your own website.
I found a simple work-around as you can tell by the video above. Livescribe Smartpen Review
Example 2: At this point, the only negative thing I can say about this camera is that it doesnt have a flat bottom like the original (non-HD) RCA Small Wonder. No worries, I have a mini-tripod that I can use, but that does add a level of inconvenience. Isonic Snapbox Review
When addressing the negatives, immediately follow that up with the solution – or with the reason why the negative didn’t deter YOU from making the purchase.
Don’t forget this important element! Your call-to-action tells your reader exactly what they should do next, and it needs to be very specific directions with a smooth transition. For example:
- Ready? Click here for ordering instructions
- Get Free Shipping by ordering through Amazon.com
- Click here to download XYZ
- Click here to read more consumer reviews on Amazon
- Get the best deal on ABC by ordering online at XYZ website
Take a look at the landing page you’ll be sending visitors to from your product review, and frame your call-to-action in a way that encourages them to click through – and lets them know exactly what to expect when they do.
As always, every piece of content that you create on the internet should be optimized for a specific keyword phrase – and reviews are no different. You may be optimizing your review for the actual product, or you may frame your review around a specific problem or need. Choose your keyword phrase so that you attract the ideal reader.
It’s often easier to rank for the product name + review. For example, my Membernaire Review ranks #2 in Google for “membernaire review”. Simply use the product name and add “Review” at the end.
I also (still) rank #1 on Google for “opportunity.com review” and “traffic secrets 2.0 review”. This is a great way to continue to make sales on a product, long after the initial buzz or launch phase is over – particularly in the Internet Marketing niche.
Bonus Tip #1 If you share a lot of product reviews on your site or blog, make it a point to talk about what NOT to buy. Don’t be afraid to write negative reviews now and then. It’s important to prove that you are real, and that you can be objective. Your readers will appreciate you for it, and trust your opinion more.
Bonus Tip #2 Need more details for your product review? Go to Yahoo! Answers, or any forum or discussion site/area, and post a query for feedback on your product. This is especially helpful with physical products, such as a certain gas grill or home appliance. At the end of your query include a note that you may use responses anonymously in an upcoming report on the product, and that you’ll come back and share the link to that report when it is available.
Learning how to write a product review that engages readers and makes sales is a skill that will improve over time. Take this checklist and write a product review for your site or blog today!
p.s. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. You can also join us on my Internet Marketing Forum for questions about affiliate marketing, internet marketing, or setting up your blog or website.